Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


-- audiovox -- live hard, die young and leave a beautiful corpse, then rehab live on saturday night!

Apparently, the good (and also the bad) really do die young(ish).

How rock stardom can take years off your life | News | Guardian Unlimited Music
James Randerson, science correspondent
Tuesday September 4, 2007
The Guardian

From suicide to drug overdose, murder to bizarre gardening accidents - the hallowed halls of rock legend are littered with fallen young men and women who took the phrase "live fast, die young" as more life instruction than metaphor. Now scientists have penetrated the haze of trashed hotel rooms, coke-fuelled all-night binges and stories of never-ending promiscuity to uncover a cautionary tale for X-factor wannabes. Their conclusion: rock'n'roll seriously damages your health.

By comparing the lives - and more importantly, deaths - of rock and pop stars with the rest of the population they have found that in the first five years after chart success, the mortality rate of performers shoots up to three times that of the rest of us. And living fast as a rock megastar does make you die young - of the 100 performers in the sample who died early, the average age was 42 for North American stars and just 35 for those in Europe.

Showing that the lifestyle which famously prevented Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards from remembering the 1970s takes years off your life may not seem like rocket science, but the researchers say anecdotes about rock star deaths alone are not enough to understand the problem.

"Nine out of 10 of these people don't die young. You have to do this sort of analysis to quantify what the additional mortality is," said Mark Bellis at Liverpool John Moores University's centre for public health, who led the study. He said the data could be used to prevent rock'n'roll deaths....Professor Bellis and his team analysed the careers of 1,064 artists who had made it into a catalogue of the 1,000 best albums of all time, as voted for by a poll of more than 200,000 people in 2000. Of these, 100 had died by 2005 - 9.6% of the men and 7.3% of the women. Accidents (16), drug/alcohol overdose (19) and the less rock'n'roll cancer (20) were the top three causes of death, with suicide (3), drug/alcohol related accidents (4) and violence (6) lower down the list. The mysterious "other" category (10) presumably included only truly original exits such as those of the ill-fated Spinal Tap drummers in the spoof rockumentary who variously vacated their stool after a bizarre gardening accident, on-stage spontaneous combustion and choking on someone else's vomit....

Mind, it does seem to be a case of both a small sample biasing the data, and having enough people clumped at the very young end to seriously depress the average age. Granted, 10 percent of a sample is a notably higher mortality rate than the general population in a given age group. And I think the accident issue may confuse things a bit; how many of the accidents are directly attributable to the rock-n-rollness of it all?

(Though, looking at it, what I wonder is how many of the rock'n'rollers wind up taking other people with them. Does associating with these musicians shorten the lives of hangers-on and other people?

And, given that the mortality rate of younger popsters is dropping, apparently the whole Just Say No thing is sorta kinda taking hold -- Lindsay Lohan aside. Apparently, younger popsters are indulging at ever lower rates.

And for those who don't say no, there's always Celebrity Rehab! ...No, really.

No. Really.


Coming Soon: Celebrity Rehab, Vh1

Each new celebrity reality show seems to lower our collective standards and frazzle our grey matter, inviting us to give our brains a rest and leave our scruples at the door. They promise sneaky peaks into the day-to-day dross of a has-been celebrity that you've either never heard of, happily forgotten or couldn't care less about. And so looking to keep up with MTV's recent slide into the muck with Jodie Marsh's search for a husband, Vh1 presents Celebrity Rehab. [...] The celebrities confirmed so far include former professional wrestler Chyna, porn star Mary Carey (her of the legal battle with the more famous Ms Carey), troubled "comic" Andy Dick, Brigitte Nielsen and actor Tom Sizemore...

Ex-'Idol' Finalist In Rehab
The Tampa Tribune
Published: Aug 30, 2007

TAMPA - Tampa resident and former "American Idol" top-10 finalist Jessica Sierra is in rehab - and doing it California-style. At a court hearing Wednesday morning, Sierra's attorney said she was seeking help at a California establishment but declined to say where. About 5 p.m., VH-1 spokesman Scott Acord said the singer will be one of the stars of a new reality TV show called "Celebrity Rehab." Although VH-1 has not disclosed all of the stars, Internet bloggers have mentioned names such as former female pro-wrestler Chyna, embattled movie star Tom Sizemore and TV nerd Andy Dick. No broadcast date was given.

Sierra's prosecution on charges of felony battery and possession of cocaine has been postponed for a month or two while she completes treatment....

I can't even begin to enumerate all the ways in which this is a relentlessly bad idea. For one thing, people who wind up in rehab have generally done things that are, at a minimum, terribly embarrassing, and sometimes actually illegal -- apart from the drug thing itself, I mean. And while I would think that the therapy sessions would be terribly juicy -- "So, Mr Sizemore, were you in a nondrugged state when you decided it would be a good idea to make a porn movie in which you dissed your administering judge? In fact, were you in an unaltered state to make any of the porn movie? What about all the stuff you did after the porn movie? Really, you might as well just talk about the porn, since you haven't done anything of note since then. Perhaps you and Ms Carey could just make a porn vid right here and now!" -- I'm also surprised that anyone even pretending to be a reputable therapist or rehab center would have anything to do with this show. It can't possibly do their reputation any good, and I can't imagine that it's not going to bias the treatment in some ways.

I also can't quite imagine a therapy group with Andy Dick and Tom Sizemore going terribly well. And of course, these people would all be their own therapy group; nobody with a lick of sanity would sign up to go through their own personal hell on camera with these people, though I would imagine that VH1 desperately wants a few normal-ish people to fill things out, just to contrast the massively out-of-control behavior of our average addicted celebrity. I do hope they don't get it.

Have to admit, I wonder how many people might tune in just to see who beats Andy up this week.

Questions? Comments? Miscellaneous drug abuse and rehab recommendations?

Posted by iain at 04:20 PM in category audiovox , media and society , television